Saturday 8 September 2012

2012 Trip / Tanzania/ Kahama / Faraja Orphanage

 Sheena is a One Person co-founder and Director. She is a teacher at the Summerland Montessori School (B.C. Canada) which supports the Faraja Orphanage.   

Most Tanzanian orphanages are not the traditional institutionalised facilities that most of us are familiar with.  Orphans tend to be absorbed into extended families or are taken in by neighbours. The extra child/children put a huge strain on the families who take them in, so the children spend time at an orphanage each day to receive care and food. 

In this instance a group of women from the Isegehe area formed a committee and put money together to form the orphanage, which they continue to fund and run. The orphanage pays for the children’s medical and schooling fees, and sends soap and other valued items back to the foster-family to help decrease the burden of an extra child/children.


"In previous years we have sent money to buy the orphanage meat goats and pay school fees, and we sent them supplies in the crate sent last year. Since I was meeting them in person, families from the school put together bags for each of the orphans and I brought some donated money and the money from our recycling program to help them. I have been carrying all of the stuff with me all this time, and I was excited to finally be able to deliver it.

Of course, getting there was not quick and easy. The ride we thought we arranged didn’t work out due to an uninsured vehicle and despite numerous calls to a variety of people, we were stuck for a little bit as to how to get out there. Eventually Joseph found us a taxi driver willing to take us out there (it is in a village outside of Kahama) and we set off, with our 32 gift bags loaded up in the trunk of the cab. We had been unable to make direct contact with the orphanage yet, so first we went to the World Vision office, where someone else jumped into the cab to direct us to the orphanage. Through channels we are still not certain of, Scholastica (who runs the orphanage with the help of other ladies in the community) had heard we were coming and was waiting for us.

When we arrived, we were very warmly welcomed, with lots of hugging and hand shaking and hand holding and hugging and laughing and more hand shaking and cries of “Welcome!” Once Brenda explained that I was the teacher from the book we sent them last year, I was re-welcomed and there was even more hugging and hand-shaking and an elderly woman was kicked out of her chair so I could sit there! There were orphanage kids and random neighbour kids there and some of them were really breaking my heart! All of the people I have met so far here are very clean and tidy (which I find hard what with all of the dust and lack of water pressure!), but quite a few of these kids were dirty, with torn clothing, and bellies protruding from malnutrition. One little guy, a year old or so, ate a handful of dirt.

I only had stuff for the Orphanage kids, so Brenda and Joseph went to get food for everyone from the store. Mary and I stayed and, with Scholastica’s son Isack translating, made conversation with the Faraja ladies. They were very surprised that Mary was only 17, comparing her to a girl there who was 17 and asking, “Why do you look so much bigger than her? What are you eating over there?!” When Brenda and Joseph came back, we fed all of the children some bananas and biscuits.

After that I handed out the gift bags and took pictures of all of the children. It was awesome! I brought pictures of the kids from my school to go with each bag and showed them to the children as they received their bags, explaining that that child sent the bag for them. It was chaotic and busy, but really great! Afterwards, we took more pictures and they all sang some songs for us. Then I discreetly gave Scholastica the money I had brought and after a lot more hugging and hand shaking and thank-you’s, we were off. I would have loved to have stayed longer, but our taxi driver was only willing to wait so long, so away we went! "

Thank you - from the children and youth in Kahama, Tanzania

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